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Archive for the ‘tazkiyah’ Category

Such Wonders

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Let your heart reside with your Master and you will see such wonders of His providence unfurl that were never seen by your predecessors!

  • Transcribed from: The Legacy of the Prophet: An explanation of his advice to ibn ‘Abbās; being a translation of his Nūru’l-Iqtibās fī Mishkāt Waṣiyyah al-Nabī li’bn ‘Abbās | Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī

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One of the Salaf said, “When I am afflicted with calamity, I praise Allāh four times: I praise Allāh for it not being worse than it is, I praise Allāh for nourishing me with the ability to bear it patiently, I praise Him for granting me the accord to say, ‘To Allāh we belong and to Him we return,’ and I praise Him for not making the tribulation in my religion.”

Looking to relief through patience is an act of worship since tribulation never remains forever.

Patiently bear every calamity, take heart,

Know that harm never endures forever.

Be patient, just as the nobles were patient:

It is a fleeting event; here today, gone tomorrow. 

If the most severely afflicted person were to be dipped but once in the bliss of Paradise and then asked, “Have you ever seen calamity?” He will reply, “My Lord, no!” [1]

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Qatādah said,

Allāh is with those who have taqwā of Him. Whoever has Allāh with him, then with him is the party that will never be overcome, the sentry that will never sleep and the guide who will never go astray. [1]

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SolitudeMany of them would not have the strength to interact with creation and, as a result, would flee so that they could be alone with their beloved; this is why many of them would spend long periods of time in seclusion. When one of them was asked, “Do you not feel the bite of loneliness?” He replied, “How can I when He has said that He is the companion of one who remembers Him?” Another said, “How can one feel the bite of loneliness when he is with Allāh?” Yet another said, “Whoever feels the bite of loneliness when alone does so because of his lack of solace with his Lord.”

Yaḥyā ibn Mu’ādh would frequently seclude and isolate himself, when his brother censured him for this by saying, “If you are a man amongst men, you need the company of men,” he replied, “If you are a man amongst men, you are in need of  Allāh.” It was once asked of him, “You have migrated from the people, with whom do you live?” He replied, “With the One for whose sake I migrated.” Ghāzwan was once censured for his seclusion to which he said, “I attain relief in my heart by sitting with One who meets my needs.”

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Night Prayers

SQRBQ8TD85O you whose nature is unyielding and whose heart is inclined towards his nature: think of the purpose for which you were created, and what it is that Allāh made incumbent upon you. If you wish to ride the stallion that is your soul, then you must tame it, and counteract the effect of your mercurial nature, so that you can harness it for proper use. Look for the dawn of reward during the night, and pour out the intoxicant of your desires, so that you do not get caught by the One in authority [i.e. Allāh].

The water of your nature is brine, whereas the water of your heart is sweet, your intellect standing between the two as a barrier, just as al-Khidr’s firm stance. So be like Musā (‘alayhi as-salām), and do not abandon your self-discipline until you arrive at the meeting point of the two oceans. Stand on the leg of patience [praying all night] even if standing is too wearisome, as it is better than sitting down. O you who has been asleep all night long, the company has already left, and the sun of old-age is upon you and yet your sleep does not end. If you had been awake in the last part of the night, you would have seen how the road of the pious slaves is crowded and had you gone to drink from the well of Madiyan [1], you would have many people quenching their thirst from it.

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Overcoming Laziness

Loving leisure, preferring idleness and the perceived difficulty of tasks are what lead one to laziness. Bukhāri and Muslim reported from Anas ibn Mālik (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) that the Prophet  (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to frequently say, “I seek refuge in Allāh from grief and distress, old age and laziness.” 1

Muslim reported in his Sahih that Abu Hurayrah (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “A strong believer is better and more loved by Allāh than a weak believer.” 2

At all times, strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allāh, and do not be helpless. If anything (bad) befalls you, do not say , ‘If only I had done such-and-such, then such-and-such would have happened.’ Rather you should say, ‘Allāh preordained this, and whatever He wills He does,’ for the words ‘if only’ open the door to Shaytaan.

Ibn Mas’ood (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) said, “I detest a man whom I see idle from striving for this world and the hereafter.” 3 He also said, “At the end of time there will be people whose best actions will be blaming each other, also known as the lazy ones.”

Ibn ‘Abbās (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) said, “Slackening married laziness and they gave birth to poverty.”

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From the manners that Islām has taught us is to begin our actions by mentioning the name of Allāh. The purpose behind this is far-reaching and manifold:

1. It brings Allāh to mind before one does the action.

2. It prevents one from doing evil actions.

3. It aids one in attaining Allāh’s support and succour in that action.

4. It reminds one of the purpose, the source of fulfillment, the source of blessings for that action and its final destination. 1

Ibn al-Qayyim explained this final point further,

Allāh, the Exalted is He says,

وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلاَّ بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ

There is not a single thing except that its depositories and treasures are with Us.  (Al-Hijr 15:21)

This verse comprises a [great] treasure from the treasures [of the Qur’an], this being that nothing is sought except from the One who possesses its depositories and treasures, the One in whose hands lie the keys to these treasures. Seeking [things] from anyone else is seeking something from one who does not possess them or possess any authority over them.

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When a person anticipates what his Hawā is calling him to prior to attaining it, he should then reflect on his state after his satisfaction has passed, he should compare this between his satisfaction and his sin, for that is when he will know that he has lost double of what he has gained.

A poet said regarding this:

How much satisfaction that provoked happiness

Ended up revealing sadness and sorrow

How many desires ripped from their participants

The garment of religion and virtue

Know that when a human acts in accordance to his Hawā, he will find himself in disgrace and humiliation, even if this Hawā does not harm him, that is because he feels subdued by his Hawā, but when he overcomes his Hawā, he will find in himself honor and pride as he will feel triumphant and victorious. For this reason, when people see an ascetic they become amazed by him, and they would kiss his hand [to show respect] because they perceive him as a person who is strong enough to leave what they were weak in the face of and that is disobeying Hawā.  

  • Transcribed from: Disciplining the Soul; Tibb al-Ruhāni | Ibn al-Jawzi

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An old, worn, wooden footbridge over a ravine in NepalIt was reported that (Prophet) Nuh lived in a house made of wool for nine hundred and fifty years. The Messenger salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam never put a stone over another [his house was built of mud] and on Umar ibn al-Khattab’s radiAllāhu ‘anhu garment there were twelve patches. This is because they understood that this world is a bridge and a bridge should not be taken as a home. Thus, whoever fails to be aware of this knowledge will be afflicted with the disease of Sharah1, and should cure himself by seeking knowledge and contemplating the biographies of wise scholars.

Footnotes:
1. Sharah: Used for extravagance, and is generally used to refer to gluttony

  • Transcribed from: Disciplining the Soul; Tibb al-Ruhāni | Ibn al-Jawzi

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The Fruits of Patience

Discontentment is a trait of an impatient individual whose very own intolerant disposition prevents them from receiving rewards from Allah. Moreover, their sinful behavior leads them to being overwhelmed by their difficulties. Consequently, they are besieged by two afflictions: problems in their religion caused by their unhappiness and the weight of the hardship that befell them in the first place.

To the contrary, the truly patient believer controls him or herself at the onset of their difficulty. Yes, they do not like that this calamity has happened to them, but they patiently control themselves. He or she refrains from uttering anything or doing anything that would anger Allah. Nor does this believer harbor ill-feelings in their heart towards the Most Wise. In spite of their trials and mishaps, this person is patient. The contented one is at ease and totally calm during their adversity as though nothing has occurred.

Patient and grateful believers express their gratitude to Allah for whatever befalls them. This was the way of the Messenger of Allah. Whenever he saw something that displeased him, he would say, “Praise belongs to Allah.”

Hence, displaying gratitude to Allah results in Allah giving this person a reward greater than the misery they suffered. Case in point, once there was a devout believing woman who possessed a serious ailment in her fingers. Despite the pain, she constantly praised Allah. “How is it that you praise Allah and you’re suffering great pain in your fingers?” she was asked.  She replied, “The sweetness of its reward causes me to disregard the bitterness of patience.” Allah is the One who grants success.

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